What to Do in the Event of a Car Accident

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Having an accident is probably one of the worst things that can happen to ruin your day. It’s stressful, happens very fast, and leaves you in a sticky situation. There are ways to cope though, and we hope to explain these to you now. Please be aware that some of the following advice is a legal requirement in the event of an accident.

It is a legal requirement that you remain at the scene of the accident until all parties have shared insurance information. If the police have been called, then it is a legal requirement for you to wait at the scene until the emergency services arrive.


It does not matter who was at fault you will need to collect the following information from all members involved:

  • Name and phone number of their insurance provider
  • Note down their registration
  • A contact number and full name of any parties involved
  • Photos of any damage to all vehicles and person involved

Any one with reasonable grounds to request such information is legally entitled to it. If you fail to give all of this information to the parties involved, then you must attend a police station and inform the police of the accident. You have a maximum of 24 hours to do so.

If anyone at the scene is injured then there are more steps that must be taken:

  1. If the accident is serious, ensure that all vehicles are switched off and the keys have been removed fro the ignition.
  2. Produce your certificate of insurance (you should have at least a photocopy in your glove box) and show it to anyone who demands to see it—including the police
  3. Report the accident to the police within 24 hours in person. You can report the accident immediately using 111 within the UK. If anyone is seriously injured do not hesitate to call 999. Prior to calling the police you should request an ambulance.

Here is a checklist of the things you should note down before leaving the scene:

  • Location, location, location:
    • Where did the accident take place?
    • At what time?
    • What is the date?
    • What are the weather conditions like?
    • Was it raining or damp?
    • What is the traffic like?
    • Are there any road markings, signs or signals at the location of the incident?
    • Are any signs, signals or road markings at the location of the incident potentially misleading?
    • Vehicles involved:
      • How many vehicles were involved directly or indirectly?
      • What are the make, model, registration number and insurance provider of each vehicle?
      • How many people were in each vehicle and are they injured?
      • What was the estimated speed, in your opinion, of all vehicles involved at the moment of the collision?
      • What is the condition of each of the vehicles? Do they all seem roadworthy to you?
      • Did each party adequately use indicators and lights at the time of the condition?
      • Did everyone take adequate action to avoid the collision?
      • In what direction was each vehicle heading?
      • People:
        • How can you contact anyone involved (and all witnesses)?
        • Note a description of each and every driver involved
        • Details, including badge number, of all police officers attending the scene
        • Damage to vehicles:
          • Descriptions of damage done to any vehicles and accompanying photos of all damage to all vehicles and property involved

Whilst this may seem like a lot to remember at a stressful time, it is of vital importance in ensuring that the person at fault pays out. Contact your insurance company immediately, once you have arrived at a safe location. All insurance companies have a 24-hour claim line that you can contact.


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